'Disrupters' challenge old power grid
Thailand's electricity production has relied heavily on natural gas for the past several decades. In an attempt to increase energy security, the most recent Power Development Plan (2015) proposed a transition away from natural gas and towards a more diversified portfolio of renewable, hydro and coal.
However, the government's plans to build two coal-fired power plants in the South, suspended now for three years, have met with fierce opposition from the public.
Local opposition has happened concurrently with the global trend to phase out coal in response to climate change and a sharp drop in the cost of renewable technology (especially solar photovoltaics). Together, they act as a disruptive force that will transform the existing traditional electricity grid into a modernised one that is clean, decentralised and more efficient.
Research fellow at TDRI
Wichsinee Wibulpolprasert is a research fellow at Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI).